Raising chicks in sight of adult flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by StephanieC, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. StephanieC

    StephanieC In the Brooder

    May 8, 2014
    I may decide to get two or three new chicks to eventually add to my existing flock. I want to keep them on my screened kitchen porch, where my three laying hens live just outside. The chicks will go from Rubbermaid bin to dog crate as they mature, and I would have them out to explore on the porch once they are feathered out and don't need the heat lamp.

    Is it a good or bad idea for the adult hens to be able to see and hear the chicks? Should I keep the chicks somewhere else? Or will it make them more likely to be accepted when the time comes to introduce them?
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Yes it will be good for them to see and hear them, but that does not mean they will like them better.
    I know you are kind of hoping that they will make friends through the exposure, and they won't.

    AArt has some great writings on introducing chicks to the flock, and a one way gate that works a treat.

    Mrs K
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    It will be fine for them to see each other. It may make integration easier, but I agree they won't "make friends". It won't hurt anything at all.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I used a wire dog crate with a small 'door' as a refuge to integrate chicks with a 6 week age span.
    Gonna try the small door thing with chicks and the main flock this year.

    This pic shows the earliest iteration....I ended up removing the crate door, installed a better wire section with small 'door' and moved it under the roost board so I could open the door to the separate run area. By the time the younger chicks were too big to comfortably fit in the crate they were well integrated with the older chicks. I then removed the crate and it was soon time to add a portable floor nest for the older pullets under the roost board.

    This whole shebang is located in a partitioned off part of the main coop, so they all had visual access only both in coop and in separate runs. I removed the partition wall once the younger cockerels starting causing problems...integration went pretty well, there were some scuffles but no blood shed. The younger group roosted in their end of the coop until they eventually started roosting with the main flock.
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    All my pens are connected and can see each other. I can control access between pens by opening & closing doors & gates. That's about the same deal Steph has with her tote, screen porch and back yard.
    When my chicks get old enough I leave the door to their brooder cage open and they jump out into the brooder/grower pen whenever they get ready. Then when they get old enough again I leave the door open between the brooder/grower pen and the main hen pen and they mingle whenever they feel like mingling with each other. If the old birds pick on the young birds they simply run back into their own pen until they feel brave enough to venture out again.
    It goes pretty smoothly when you let them do it at their own pace.

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